COVID Feature: A Last Hurrah

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Online thieves stealing your money

It’s bad enough that an Illinois woman used her boyfriend’s credit card to steal millions of dollars from his employer. Even worse is that Crystal Lundberg apparently decided to “go big” and commit COVID-19 fraud by also applying for a coronavirus pandemic relief loan on her way to prison. (I guess she figured she’d have a “last hurrah” before settling down into her new jail cell.)

Let’s start with the shopping spree Lundberg carried out using her boyfriend’s corporate credit card. The 32-year-old was sentenced to 52 months in prison for purchasing luxury items worth $5.8 million. According to prosecutors, she spent about $585,000 on a failed medical spa, cars, jewelry, trips and rent that cost $12,000 per month. (She shared the rented 7,000-square-foot mansion with her boyfriend, her chilldren and a few pets.)

It’s important to note that Lundberg’s boyfriend, Scott Kennedy, was fired from his job after the fraud was discovered. He ultimately confessed to his part in the scheme and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. (That means he shared his girlfriend’s criminal activities with the government, so he’d get a lighter sentence. Suffice to say, that relationship is probably over now.) Kennedy received a 25-month prison sentence for defrauding his own company. (It would be interesting to know what attracted this lucky guy to his fraudster girlfriend in the first place.)

Now, let’s take a look at Lundberg’s failed COVID-19 fraud attempt. As she was preparing to report to prison for her first crime, she applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) to keep her beauty salon solvent during the COVID-19 pandemic. (There was just one problem – she neglected to reveal her conviction and subsequent prison sentence. I’m sure she just forgot.) As a result of Lundberg’s illegal efforts, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) granted her a $150,000 EIDL loan.

The SBA website states that EIDL loans are intended to offer economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (It doesn’t mean those taxpayer funds can be used to fulfill a criminal’s desire for more cash.So much for the last hurrah.) 

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Woman Headed to Prison for Fraud Obtained COVID-Relief Fund,” published by U.S. News & World Report on November 16, 2020.

CHICAGO (AP) — AN Illinois woman facing incarceration for stealing millions of dollars through her boyfriend’s business credit card allegedly obtained a pandemic relief loan as she prepared to report to prison, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago revealed Monday.

A U.S. District Court judge was asked by federal prosecutors to revoke the bond of Crystal Lundberg, who they say illegally obtained a $150,000 pandemic-relief loan. Prosecutors allege in a court filing that Lundberg, 34, lied on applications for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan application and failed to disclose her fraud conviction or her prison sentence. Charges have yet to be filed against Lundberg.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.